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What cyber security risks are facing businesses in the financial services industry?

It comes as no surprise to mention the fact that the financial industry has become the main focus for cyber security attacks over the course of the last few years. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudulent activity has increased rapidly as more and more users became more likely to be targeted by cyber security attacks because of remote working. With the growing uncertainty around COVID-19, many businesses turned to the government for aid as most of these didn’t have the necessary cyber security safeguards in place to stop cyber-attacks from happening so now are in the process of choosing Cyber Security partners to help protect their business online going forwards. 

Cyber Security In Financial Services 

It has become increasingly more common for both personal and business customers to be the target for fraudsters with a rapid rise in ‘phishing’ emails around COVID-19 being delivered to customers. These emails may look legit and from a reliable source as a result of the pandemic but are basically asking customers to reveal their account details to them. Furthermore through phishing emails, customers will be targeted by malware if they click on any link which then automatically downloads onto their computer. 

Rapid increases experienced in Social Engineering 

Another of the frauds on the rise is regarding call centres. This works by fraudsters posting what are perceived as ‘fun’ questions on social media platforms such as ‘what is your mother’s maiden name?’. This is used to gain access to personal information which is then used to gain access to your customer accounts. 

The increased use of remote working in the financial industry because of COVID-19 has increased the levels of risk. Financial users who could easily access data in the office from a stable and secure connection are now accessing this data remotely without the necessary tools to be able to do this on a secure company VPN. You will find that in a typical household, a number of users are on the same network which could expose secured devices to malware if the right endpoint security isn’t in place to cover this.  

Reflecting on the different types of risk that customers have encountered things like phishing and social engineering aren’t new but have rapidly increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March of last year. The main goal of Advantage is to support our financial services clients to improve their awareness for their customers and to give expert advice on how to ensure that their business is fully secured online. 

Game changing cybersecurity risks have changed the landscape over the last 10 years 

It goes without saying but the risks around cybersecurity in the financial sector have rapidly increased in the last few years. This is largely down to the fact that the cyber threat landscape has got worse as more and more financial institutions become the target of business changing destructive activity.  

5 of the most common cybersecurity risks to businesses 


We’ve mentioned this briefly above but essentially malware is one of the most common types of cybersecurity threat. Since the inception of the internet, it has continued to remain a constant problem. Put simply, malware is a software that installs itself on a target system causing unusual behaviour. At its peak of destruction it can stop access to programs, delete files, steal sensitive information or even infect other machines in the network. One of the best ways to protect your business against this threat is with the latest anti-malware programs. Furthermore, educating your users through tailored cyber awareness training can help users to identify suspicious links, files or websites that may be malicious. 

Traffic interception 

This happens when a third party ‘listens’ to information that is being transferred from a user to a host. It is possible to steal log-ins or data in this way. This means that users need to stop using compromised websites as well as businesses encrypting network traffic to alleviate this risk. 

Whaling attacks 

You will find that whaling attacks are aimed at C-level executives with the same social engineering tricks but can also be sent from internal sources.  You can easily protect yourself through the use of cloud cybersecurity services for email, data & websites to stop any compromises going through to the user. 

Phishing attacks 

Despite the fact that phishing attacks are very much an older risk, they can still work by sending a message or email requesting sensitive information to be given. Therefore, the victim clicks on a link in an email and gives away sensitive information.  

Password theft 

You will find that this happens when a third party manages to either steal or guess a user’s password. It is a scary enough thought of losing your own personal data but when it happens a business, they risk exposing their customer’s data and their own business information. Having an enterprise level password management solution in place is the first port of call along with the education of your staff on how to protect themselves against this threat. Furthermore, you can also keep your financial services business safe through the use of multi-factor authentication. Essentially, what this does is requests an additional piece of information in order to complete your login. 

Next Steps? 

Advantage are one of the best IT security companies in London with a wide variety of clients across financial services, professional services, logistics, charities and many more. Our team of IT experts are on hand to provide your business with a wide range of Cyber Security solutions from dedicated IT auditsDisaster recoverytailored firewall securitytailored IT consultancy as well as the Cyber Essentials CertificationGet in touch with us today to discuss your specific requirements. 

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